At the age of 44 my life changed in the blink of an eye. In April 2006, in what was literally a matter of seconds, I began to exhibit symptoms that were similar to those of a stroke. Being a migraine sufferer (and not an alarmist) I brushed off these symptoms for days assuming I was stuck in a migraine aura. Five days later I realized something was dreadfully wrong and was terrified. The next three weeks were a whirlwind of uncomfortable tests and doctors’ hypotheses. In the end, the dreaded words were uttered by a specialist, “My dear, beyond a shadow of a doubt, you have Multiple Sclerosis.” Wow! Talk about a life-altering moment! I was stunned, shocked, and frightened.
Word of my diagnosis spread like wildfire amongst our family and friends. Many called wanting to express their concerns, ask questions and let me know they were there to help. But what could anyone really do? No one could take this dreadful disease away or could they? After taking almost a full year to physically adjust to the medication and a new lifestyle, I called a friend of ours who is a Rabbi specializing in healing prayer.
Our first visit was awkward. He asked about my expectations and I said I thought it would work like therapy; he would listen to me and use Rabbinical advice to explain why I felt the way I did. He promptly told me with a glint in his eye, “No, it doesn’t work like that. This is not therapy, I am not a shrink.” We shared a laugh and then I asked, “Then what is healing prayer?”
He began discussing the power of healing prayer on others. Stories of people’s tumors disappearing were shared in-depth. People come from all over the world to pray with and learn from this Rabbi. It is important to note that when performing healing prayer, one must also follow and practice the medical advice of their physicians. Prayer does not replace prescribed medications or protocol. It is an addition to it.
Clarifying my beliefs was next. I was not sure I believed in “God” specifically, but I did believe in a universal power greater than mankind. Personally, my God is defined more like energy versus a traditional human-like figure sitting on a throne up in heaven. This ended up being right on target because healing prayer is based on having faith in the energy of God. God is conscious thinking, compassionate, giving energy. Humans are created in God’s image and within all of us (and outside all of us) God is everywhere. This energy is harnessed and activated through healing prayer.
Dr. Gary Schwartz at the University of Arizona in Tucson on advances of consciousness and health performed a study indicating the energy in the expression of Global Love focusing on the date April 29, 2011. He used a special device based in Tucson that tracks random activity of energetic electrons in the world. First, you may be wondering what was so special about the date April 29, 2011. That was the day Prince William and Kate got married. The energetic expression of global love was that of their kiss. When William and Kate stepped out onto the balcony the energy levels increased. When the remainder of the royal family stepped out onto the balcony, the energy levels increased even further. While they were standing there the energy levels stayed relatively steady until there was a slight uptick and that was when the crowd started chanting kiss-kiss-kiss. When Will and Kate demurely kissed, the crowd went wild as shown through the energy indicator. Then the levels dropped a bit and stayed steady. However over the next several minutes researchers noticed the uptick dramatically rose. And what do you think this correlated with? The second kiss. And for those of you who watched on TV, you know this second kiss was definitely more romantic than the first. And the crowd went wild. Isn’t it truly amazing that the energy levels of this crowd all away in London were measured thousands of miles away in Tucson Arizona? Energy is universal.
Through meditation and/or prayer, energy can be harnessed to heal the mind and body. Many ancient cultures practice energy rituals such as Chi gong, tai chi, yoga, meditation, healing prayer, etc. that have become popular in contemporary life due to their proven positive healing effects.
Meditation literally means to think, contemplate, devise, or ponder. It is a mental practice used for the purpose of experiencing a heightened awareness within silence and relaxation; very similar to that of healing prayer. Scientists and physicians are researching the effects of meditation on the brain. Through MRI studies it has been proven that meditation positively affects the health of the brain. For example studies are showing that a regular practice of meditation provides these benefits:
- promotes deep breathing which stimulates blood flow and healing to the body
- increases energy
- reduces stress and frequency of illness
- improves memory and brain health
- improves overall wellness
There are many types of meditation, but the true essence is the same: it involves intention, focus and deliberate breathing. In the case of healing prayer, it also includes specific invocations to recite. It also requires practice and dedication. Change does not happen overnight.
I have practiced healing prayer regularly for over eight years. Healing prayer is guided by the notion that one does not pray to be given strength; one prays to be cured. It uses principles for guiding our healing embraced by the Christian and Jewish traditions. Both faiths maintain that when you pray, you pray as if your prayer has already been answered. And I like to add my own saying that, “Energy flows where attention goes.” So if you and God are focused on healing, you will be healed. Have faith.
I’d like to share with you that MRIs of my brain show that my MS has progressed. Yet clinically speaking, my doctor says I am the healthiest patient he has. I’m his favorite conundrum. We always discuss whether he treats the picture or the patient and agree in the end he should treat me, the patient. Therefore I ask you to use me as living proof that healing prayer and meditation work, and give it a try if you haven’t already. It may not be a cure per say, but it does keep me healthy and I hope it does the same for you.
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Barbara inspires hope through mindful health and a meaningful life. By combining healthy living, spirituality, and neuroscience principles, she helps people understand how to be proactive in their health care versus reactionary in their sick care so they can feel great in their body and in their life. Her greatest wish is to never hear a person say, “I should be taking better care of myself.” To learn more and receive her FREE guide, visit Appelbaum Wellness.